select one of the questions about each case to respond to thoroughly Case: Lying to Rachel Adams Purpose: The purpose of this case study is to develop a deeper understanding of how the ethical principles discussed this unit can affect individuals and the organization.

  1. select one of the questions about each case to respond to thoroughly 

Case: Lying to Rachel Adams



The purpose of this case study is to develop a deeper understanding of how the ethical principles discussed this unit can affect individuals and the organization.



Rachel Adams was very marketable. Job opportunities were excellent for someone with her computer-related skills. During one week in October three headhunters had contacted her trying to woo her away from her present position at Ballinger Systems. However, Adams liked her job, was compensated well, and had just bought a new home with her husband that was within a fifteen-minute drive of her Ballinger office. Adams’s husband was happily employed. With their two incomes, life was very comfortable. Adams was a computer design specialist, and part of her responsibilities involved managing other such specialists. She had an MBA, and when she was initially hired by Ballinger Systems she had four other job opportunities. Rachel Adams decided not to encourage the headhunters. Times were good; if they turned bad she figured she could

still get another job easily.


Times did turn bad. The next November, just thirteen months later, Ballinger Systems’ stock was plummeting. Not only was her company’s stock plummeting, but so was the stock of several other similar organizations. Through the grapevine Adams heard that Ballinger was considering merging with a competitor. Adams set up a meeting with her superior, Janet, to ask if there were, in fact, merger talks. Her superior assured her that there were no such conversations. As far as she knew, claimed the boss, Ballinger  would be independent forever. “l promise you, Rachel, we’re not going anywhere.”


This was reassuring to Rachel Adams. She was no longer as marketable as she had been. Nevertheless, one headhunter had very recently contacted her. The job he  proposed was for a similar position in a nearby location. Rachel and her husband could stay in their home. The salary was a little less than what she was making with Ballinger, but the new company would, certainly, not be going anywhere. They were a major player and were not about to be merging. The headhunter reminded Rachel that times were not like they used to be. Adams, of course, knew this. The headhunter also commented about the possible merger of Ballinger that Adams herself had heard through the grapevine. “Consider this opportunity, Rachel. Listen to me. Times are not good and they will get worse. Anything could happen. I know you’ll get this job l’ve lined up for you.”


Adams weighed the idea of applying for the other job and decided against it. Janet had assured her that the merger talks were nothing but hyperactive grapevine rumors. She wanted to stay put and decided to do so. Her subordinates, who had also heard of the possible merger, asked Rachel about it. “Look,” she told them, “l was concerned, but I was assured by Janet that there will be no merger. Janet told me this point blank and I believe her.”


In January, all employees at Ballinger received a happy mailing announcing the successful merger with Wellburton, lnc. Adams quickly set up a meeting with her  superior. Janet apologized but said she had been under strict orders not to comment on any of the merger negotiations.


“l thought we had a good relationship. I trusted you.”


“Look Rachel. I work for Ballinger. I have to be concerned for Ballinger. lf I tell you about the merger, you might jump ship. lf you jump ship, others might leave. This could jeopardize our day-to-day operations and also might make it difficult for us to close on this merger. You may think I had a moral obligation to tell you the truth, but I have a moral obligation to Ballinger to do my job. In this case doing my job means keeping you here. Keeping you here requires that I omit certain information.”


“Omit certain information? You promised! You said, ‘l promise you, Rachel, we’re not going anywhere.’ That’s what you said.”


“l didn’t lie. We’re not going anywhere. There will be some downsizing as obviously there will be duplication of responsibilities with the merger. However, Wellburton and their people are moving in here. We’re not going anywhere. I didn’t lie.”


Adams was incredulous. She nearly screamed, “l cannot believe you would do this.”


“Welcome to the real world.”


“You know I told my subordinates that there would be no merger. I trusted you. I told them I trusted you. What should I tell them now?”


“Tell them what I just told you.”


In February, one month later, Rachel Adams lost her position at Ballinger-Wellburton.




1. Did Ballinger administrators have a responsibility to honestly inform all employees about the proposed merger?

2. Does Adams have a legitimate reason to be upset or is she responsible for her own predicament since she did not pursue the job that the headhunter had presented to her?

3. Janet claimed that she did not lie when she made her promise. Did she lie?

4. Which ethical guidelines came to play in this situation?  Do you think the company will face any consequences for its behavior?



Case: The “Communication President”



The purpose of this case study is to develop a deeper understanding of how the communication process operates in an organizational context.



A grocery store chain recently appointed a new president. You are the communication specialist in the organization, which has 18 departments and 350 employees. The second day on the job, the president called you into her office, where a picture of T.S. Eliot was prominently displayed among a disarray of papers and files. She warmly greeted you and said that she wanted to “kick around a few ideas”. She told you that she wants to be known as the “Communication President”. She wants you to devise a “talking proclamation– – – kind of like the Ten Commandments, my Magna Carta” for the employees that demonstrates her commitment to effective communication. She relayed the following:


Here’s my idea. I want everyone to feel free to discuss anything with me or anyone else. I would like to foster an open climate here. I’d like to draft a statement of my communication principles. For instance, we could say something like: “Effective communication is the basis for an effective organization.” No, I like this better: “I believe effective communication is the basis for an effective organization.” You get the idea? Then we could list some principles like:


We believe in an open-door policy.

Communication should always be frank.

It’s important to keep all employees apprised of relevant information.

Address everyone by his or her first name.

Make sure you thoroughly understand someone before criticizing his/her ideas.

Always listen first, talk second.

Even if you think you understand someone, check to make sure.

Be sensitive to others.

Be open to new ideas.

That should give you a feel for what I’m trying to do. Since you are the communication expert, you can revise these ideas and get back to me with a specific proposal.




1. For your initial posting to this discussion,  create a specific proposal to make to the President (a document identifying the new President’s vision of what effective communication looks like) with suggestions about how to use the document and when and how get it to organizational stakeholders.   Be sure to provide a rationale for your suggestions that illustrates your understanding of the material from this unit.  For subsequent postings, discuss the statements others have posted—what are the advantages, disadvantages of the way things are phrased or justified, how could individual statements be improved?  For subsequent postings also discuss similarities in the statements— what are the key elements that should be included in this statement based on what we’ve learned?

2. How you would approach the president about the ethical considerations of creating a description of appropriate communication? What would you say to her?  Be sure to incorporate material from this unit’s readings and lectures in your answer.  For subsequent postings, discuss what others have offered—where are the similarities, differences – what are the strengths and weaknesses of each suggestion?


3. From what you know about this new president and the organization, what do you think is the likelihood that such a communication Magna Carta will influence the communication and the organization?